Oh, Alhambra! What a place. What a palace. It is one of the most intricately stunning places I have ever visited and if you make plans to visit the Andalusia region of Spain, then you should have the Alhambra on your list. I am always incredibly grateful when I get the opportunity to travel anywhere; that gratitude was three-fold when we visited the Alhambra. The Alhambra is made up of the museum, several gardens and palaces and full tickets get you to access to the gardens; grounds and palaces. The ticket also allot a time to visit the Nasrid palace - make sure to stick to that time slot or you might be denied access into the Nasrid palace which I think is the crown jewel of the Alhambra. We visited as a day trip from Seville, but I will not advise you go that route. By mid-day, I was exhausted from the very early start to the day and the four and half hour train ride.
From the Granada city center, you can walk to the Alhambra - it is the more scenic option but it is a bit of a hike; you can also take public transportation; we opted for a taxi, there were three of us so that made more sense. We were dropped off at the Entrance pavilion which is just a short walk to the ticket pickup (purchase) counters. Your ticket grants access to the grounds and gardens; Generalife palace and Nasrid Palaces. Our time at Generalife palace is here.
There is a massive Moorish influence in this region of Spain and that is very evident in every turn at the Alhambra and more so within the Nasrid palace. I have held off on this post because I struggle to find the right words to use to describe this place. I spent most of our time walking through the Nasrid palace with my head tilted back; the intricate detail of the design , especially the ceiling work is spectacular. So ! Look up, you will not be dissapointed.
I think it is best to let the pictures tell the story, but before we get to the pictures, a few planning tips.
If you can visit in winter. The summers in the south of Spain are harsh and the winters are mild. There is a lot of trekking involved and it would have been miserable trying to do that in scorching heat.
Book tickets in advance (online). The ticket purchase queue was tedious and lengthy and I have been told they sell out during peak periods.
When booking your tickets, I recommend an early time slot. The palace opens at 8:30 a.m. If you can get there that early - even better. As the day progresses the grounds and palaces become increasingly crowded.
Get in the queue for the Alhambra at least thirty minutes before your scheduled slot. We saw several people turned away at the entrance because they missed their window.
If you are hoping to loop in the Alhambra while visiting another part of the region (Rondo; Seville), I recommend planning an (at least) an overnight stay in Granada. Our day trip idea is not one I will recommend.
This goes without saying but wear comfortable clothes and shoes and have a bottle of water and some snacks with you.
If you have a large backpack, stroller or such - make sure to check it in at the cloakroom before getting in the queue for the Nasrid palace - another reason you will get kicked out of line if you don’t take care of that beforehand.